The Company’s significant accounting policies are as follows:
Basis of presentation
These unaudited Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements reflect the historical balance sheets, statements of operations and of comprehensive income, statements of changes in shareholders’ equity and statements of cash flows of the Company.
The Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“U.S. GAAP”). All dollar amounts, except per-share data in the text and tables herein, are stated in millions unless otherwise indicated. Material intercompany balances and transactions among the Company and its consolidated Affiliates are eliminated in consolidation.
These unaudited Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements should be read in conjunction with the audited Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto for the year ended December 31, 2017 included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on February 28, 2018. The Company’s significant accounting policies, which have been consistently applied, are summarized in those Financial Statements.
Revenue from contracts with customers
In the first quarter of 2018, the Company adopted the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 606, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers,” (“ASC 606”), using the modified retrospective method applied to all contracts. Under ASC 606, the Company recognizes revenue when a customer obtains control of promised goods or services in an amount that reflects the consideration the entity expects to receive in exchange for those goods or services. The Company applied the five step method outlined in the ASC 606 to all revenue streams.
The Company’s consolidated revenue recorded pursuant to ASC 606 is recognized over time and primarily consists of management fees, performance fees and certain reimbursement of costs from funds. Management fees are typically billed monthly or quarterly by Affiliates for managing the assets of clients.
Management fees are recognized monthly as services are rendered and are primarily based upon a percentage of the market value of client assets managed. Affiliates that manage tangible property may also earn transaction fees at the time the underlying property is bought and sold. Any fees collected in advance are deferred and recognized as income over the period earned. Dividend income received is recorded on the ex-dividend date.
Performance fees are generally assessed as a percentage of the investment performance realized on a client’s account. Additionally, separate accounts or other products which primarily earn management fees are potentially subject to performance adjustment up or down based on investment performance versus benchmark. Performance fees, including those that are subject to clawback are recognized when they (i) become billable to customers (based on contractual terms of agreements), (ii) are not subject to contingent repayment and (iii) when collection is reasonably assured.
For each one of its contracts with customers, the Company identifies one or more performance obligations within the contract and then, for each performance obligation, determines if it is a principal (where the nature of its promise is to provide a specified good or service itself) or an agent (where the nature of its promise is to arrange for a good or service to be provided by another party). In instances where a customer reimburses the Company for a cost paid on the customer’s behalf, if the Company is acting as a principal, the reimbursement is recorded on a gross basis and if the Company is acting as an agent, the reimbursement is recorded on a net basis.
Certain Funds reimburse the Company’s Affiliates for certain expenses where the Affiliate is acting as a principal, primarily for compensation expense for field office personnel at several Timber Funds (as defined below). Revenue from expense reimbursement is accrued at cost as the corresponding reimbursable expenses are incurred and is recorded in other income in the Company’s Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Revenue from other sources
Other income and revenues also includes interest income on cash and cash equivalents of Funds and revenue from marketing, distribution and consulting services.
The revenue of consolidated Funds that invest in Timber (the “Timber Funds”) is recognized from log and fiber sales upon delivery to the customer. The Company is typically responsible for all logging and hauling costs. However, under pay-as-cut timber contracts, title and risk of loss from stumpage sales transfer to the buyer as the trees are cut. Revenue is recognized as timber is harvested. The buyer is typically responsible for all logging and hauling costs.
Valuation of investments held at cost
In the first quarter of 2018, the Company adopted the provisions of Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016-01, “Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities,” (“ASU 2016-01”). In adopting ASU 2016-01, the Company changed the methodology in how it records investments in unconsolidated Timber Funds, from historical cost less depletion to fair value, based upon the Company’s proportionate share of the underlying net asset value.
The Company operates short term variable compensation arrangements where generally, a percentage of each Affiliate’s annual pre-variable compensation earnings, as defined in each arrangement, is allocated to a “pool” of each respective Affiliate’s key employees, and subsequently distributed to individuals subject to recommendation and approval of a remuneration committee comprised of both the Company’s and each respective Affiliate’s management. Variable compensation expense is accrued and recognized in the Consolidated Statements of Operations as services are provided by individual employees.
The Company operates longer term profit-interest plans whereby certain Affiliate key employees are granted (or have a right to purchase) awards representing a profits interest in their respective Affiliate, as distinct from an equity interest due to the lack of pari passu voting rights. Under these plans, the Company may award a portion of the aforementioned variable compensation arrangement through issuance of a profits interest in the Affiliate. The awards generally have a three- to five-year vesting period from the grant date, and the service period begins at the commencement of the financial period to which the variable compensation relates. Under these plans, Affiliate key employees are eligible to share in the profits of their respective Affiliates based on their respective percentage interest held.
In addition, under certain circumstances, Affiliate key employees are eligible to receive a series of repurchase payments upon exiting the plans based on a multiple of the last twelve months profits of their respective Affiliate, as defined. Profits allocated and movements in the potential repurchase value, determined based on a fixed multiple times trailing twelve month profits, as defined, are recognized as compensation expense. Profit interests compensation liabilities are re-measured at each reporting date at the current trailing twelve month earnings multiple, with movements treated as compensation expense in the Company’s Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Share-based compensation plans
The Company recognizes the cost of all share-based payments to directors, senior management and employees, including grants of restricted stock, as compensation expense in the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations over the respective vesting periods.
Awards made under the Company’s equity plans are accounted for as equity settled, and the grant date fair value is recognized as compensation expense over the requisite service period, with a corresponding contribution to capital recorded. Valuation of restricted stock awards (“RSAs”) and restricted stock units (“RSUs”) is determined based on the Company’s closing share price as quoted on the New York Stock Exchange on the measurement date. For performance-based awards, a Monte-Carlo simulation model is used to determine the fair value. Key inputs for the model include: assumed reinvestment of dividends, risk-free interest rate and expected volatility. All excess tax benefits and deficiencies on share-based payment awards are recognized as income tax expense or benefit in the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations. In addition, the tax effects of exercised or vested awards are treated as discrete items in the reporting period in which they occur and excess tax benefits or deficiencies are classified with other income tax cash flows as an operating activity in the Condensed Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows. The Company recognizes forfeitures as they occur.
Awards of equity made to Affiliate key employees are accounted for as cash settled, with the fair value recognized as compensation expense over the requisite service period, with a corresponding liability carried within other compensation liabilities on the Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet until the award is settled by the Company. The fair value of the liability is based on the expected cash to be paid. The liability is revalued at each reporting period, with any movements recorded within compensation expense.
The Company evaluates each of its Affiliates and other operating entities to determine the appropriate method of accounting. Generally, majority-owned entities or otherwise controlled investments in which the Company holds a controlling financial interest as the principal shareholder, managing member, or general partner are consolidated.
In the normal course of business, the Company’s Affiliates sponsor and manage certain investment vehicles (the “Funds”). The Company assesses consolidation requirements with respect to its Funds pursuant to ASC Topic 810, “Consolidation,” (“ASC 810”).
In evaluating whether or not a legal entity must be consolidated, the Company determines if such entity is a variable interest entity (“VIE”) or a voting interest entity (“VOE”). A VOE is considered an entity in which (i) the total equity investment at risk is sufficient to enable the entity to finance its activities independently and (ii) the equity holders at risk have the obligation to absorb losses, the right to receive residual returns, and the right to direct the activities of the entity that most significantly impact the entity’s economic performance. A VIE is an entity that lacks one or more of the characteristics of a VOE. Assessing whether an entity is a VIE or VOE involves judgment and analysis. Factors considered in this assessment include the entity’s legal organization, the entity’s capital structure and equity ownership and any related party or de facto agent implications of the Company’s involvement with the entity. Investments that are determined to be VIEs are consolidated if the Company or a consolidated Affiliate is the primary beneficiary of the investment. VOEs are typically consolidated if the Company holds the majority voting interest or otherwise controls the entity.
In evaluating whether the Company is the primary beneficiary, the Company evaluates its economic interests in the entity held either directly by the Company or indirectly through related parties. The primary beneficiary of the VIE is defined as the variable interest holder that has a controlling financial interest. A controlling financial interest is defined as (i) the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impacts its economic performance and (ii) the obligation to absorb losses of the entity or the right to receive benefits from the entity that could potentially be significant to the VIE. If no single party satisfies both criteria, but the Company and its related parties satisfy the criteria on a combined basis, then the primary beneficiary is the entity out of the related party group that is most closely associated to the VIE. The consolidation analysis can generally be performed qualitatively, however, if it is not readily apparent that the Company is not the primary beneficiary, a quantitative analysis may also be performed. The Company generally is not the primary beneficiary of Fund VIEs created to manage assets for clients unless the Company’s ownership interest in the fund, including interests of related parties, is substantial.
The Company consolidates VOEs when it has control over significant operating, financial and investing decisions of the entity or holds the majority voting interest.
Upon the occurrence of certain events (such as contributions and redemptions, either by the Company, its Affiliates, or third parties, or amendments to the governing documents of the Company’s investees or sponsored Funds) management reviews and reconsiders its previous conclusion regarding the status of an entity as a VIE or a VOE. Additionally, management continually reconsiders whether the Company is deemed to be a VIE’s primary beneficiary who consolidates such entity.
Goodwill and intangible assets
In the second quarter of 2018, the Company adopted ASU 2017-04, “Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment” (“ASU 2017-04”). Under ASU 2017-04, a goodwill impairment will now be calculated as the amount by which a reporting unit’s carrying value exceeds its fair value. Pursuant to the standard, the Company will apply ASU 2017-04 prospectively as future goodwill impairment tests are performed.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of these Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the period. Actual results could differ significantly from those estimates.